(Conducted by Danica Patrick)
Q: George, it’s hot out there, huh?
George RUSSELL: It’s hot out there for sure. I’ve got a bit of a sweat on.
Q: You guys spent a lot of time sitting in the cars there. Just talk about the chaos of the session – red flag, all the traffic everywhere. It’s a bit of a challenge here in Singapore, just help us out and explain what that was like?
GR: Yeah, it was definitely a challenging session. When you’re sat in that car, it’s like you’re sat in the sauna, just sweating it out. But you’ve got to keep your composure, stay cool. And yeah, really, really happy with this weekend as a whole. I’ve felt really confident in the car. The team did a great job with the strategy: we’re on an offset strategy compared to everybody else, so we’ve got an extra set of Medium tyres tomorrow, which nobody around us has. So to get to Q3 and be on the front row with a strategic advantage tomorrow is an exciting place to be.
Q: Well, traditionally, only one stop, so you obviously have to have the right tyres for the right situation and then you have to pass. There’s a new passing zone potentially. Do you feel like that’s going to help you guys tomorrow? Because starting on the pole eight out of 13 times has proved to be the winner.
GR: Yeah, I mean, the track is different this year. The tyre degredation on Friday looked pretty bad. So I think it’s going to be very close between a one- and a two-stop and with our Mediums we can put Ferrari in a difficult position and try and force them into an error and get the upper hand. So that’s what we’re looking for.
If you like SilverArrows.Net, consider supporting us by buying us a coffee!
Q: George, coming to you now, your first front row start since Melbourne, 12 races ago. You’ve been hooked up all weekend. Just how good was that final lap of Q3?
GR: Yeah, the car has been feeling amazing, this whole weekend. Huge credit to the whole team, they’ve been working so hard, put in a lot of efforts to maximise the car we’ve got, understanding it, looking ahead to next year as well: everybody’s you know, given 100 per cent so really pleased to translate that into a really solid result today. And, as I said, it was really, really enjoyable. To be honest, since the break, I feel like I’ve been really hooked-up with the car. Set-up’s been in a great window, working really well with my engineers. Some say it’s the new hair. I don’t know. I think it’s just good work and just enjoying it. Having fun out there.
Q: Were you expecting this performance from the car here?
GR: Yeah, to be honest, I think we were. We know that on the high-downforce circuits, we tend to go better. Ferrari always fast on the street circuits, C5 tyre. So we knew there’d be quick. Red Bull are obviously a big surprise, not too sure what’s gone on there. Their long run pace didn’t seem stellar, either. So yeah, this is a great opportunity, this weekend, to get a victory. We’ve got a different tyre strategy to every other car on the grid out there. We’ve got two Mediums. So, we’re the only team who’ve got the chance to do a one-stop or two stops, so that really gives us a great chance for tomorrow.
Q: Well, tell us a little bit more about how you’re viewing the race. You’ve got the strategic advantage, you could argue. How important is it that you get the lead of the race at the start?
GR: I’ll definitely be going for it. I think that will make our life easier. I think we’ve got the pace over Ferrari in the race but, as I said, we’ve got a strategic advantage over them. So, I’m pretty relaxed, even if we are P2 after Turn One – or even P3, because as I said, we’re the only team who can do a two-stop race. Tyre-deg looks bad and I hope we’re going to put them in a challenging position to fend this off. So, it brings… I’m feeling good, I’m feeling excited.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Frédéric Ferret – L’Equipe) Question for the three of you. How did you discover that Max was not in Q3, and how did your mind change when you discovered that?
GR: Nobody told me so it didn’t really changed my = approach heading into Q3 Just focusing on ourselves and maximising the result. But it’s definitely strange that they’ve been off the pace this weekend. Unusual. But as Carlos said, can’t discount them ahead of tomorrow, even though it will be tough.
Q: George, so when did you find out.
GR: I guess … I think probably after the first run in Q3, but it was… you always tend to look at yourself and the guys you’re fighting, and this weekend has been the Ferraris, it’s been Lando and Fernando. So, it’s not that you discount them ever, but you’re just looking at because you’re fighting it and just for whatever reason they have been off the pace all weekend.
Q: (Jake Boxall-Legge – Autosport) George, you spoke about your race pace being very, very strong. I got a chance to have a look at that on Friday. So if Ferrari’s maybe a couple of tenths a lap behind you, where do you expect the main challenge to come from if you’re in a position to win tomorrow?
GR: Yeah, I think the fight will be with Ferrari. We can’t discount Lando either, he’s got good race pace. Their race pace probably looked a little bit ahead of Ferrari’s. But it’s just going to be around that tyre degradation, around the pitstops. In all honesty, we’re sitting here now, we don’t know exactly how the tyre deg’s going to pan out but on a circuit that is difficult to overtake, you’re going to have to bide your time and maximise it around those pitstops.
Q: (Mat Coch – Speedcafe.com) If I can pull this one sideways a little bit, Liam Lawson was the only Red Bull driver in the top 10. Have you guys been impressed with him in the three, two and a half races that he’s had thus far? What are your impressions of him?
GR: Yeah, I think he’s been doing a really great job to be honest. I followed him a little bit through his F3, F2 career. Saw he was doing a great job in Super Formula and it’s never easy to be thrown into Formula 1 as a rookie mid-season, no experience. The tracks that we’ve been racing at haven’t exactly been the easiest. I saw he did a good overtake last week in Monza which was pretty impressive. So yeah, he’s doing a good job so not a lot more to say than that really.